January , 2009 started the new series of our study group:

  Aftermath President Obama’s Election Victory and the Future of Empire

Our main goal this quarter will be to investigate the extent to which the imploding global economy has and will affect the planet’s geopolitical landscape. A few things can be said for sure; first, America’s economic foundation – which its monstrous military rests on – is no longer so dynamic. Second, America’s ideology of free markets, human rights, and democracy has been largely discredited by Bush’s unilateral use of naked force. Physical coercion is more than a means of action; for it is also a form of communication, whose effectiveness depends upon other factors. Third, we certainly know how Barack Obama’s gifted rhetoric is – as Aristotle stated – an important foundation of power, especially when combined with the capacity to reward and punish.

Yet, how persuasive can he be internationally in an environment in which every national economy is busy trying to save itself, and how will he be able to change anything domestically in the face of overwhelming institutional pressures? Finally, will these domestic and international pressures foster or impede America’s ongoing imperial project in an Obama administration?


RECENTLY: (2008)  

Empire at the Crossroads: An Imperial or Post-Imperial Presidency?

With the myth of its military invincibility shattered in the Iraq War, an overly strained economy in dangerous disarray, and its presumed world leadership image badly tarnished, scarred and discredited, the coming November Presidential Election could mark nothing less than a turning point, a sea change in the course of American history for the voting public, and thus a possible change in the structure of its national character.

In spite of the nuts and bolts of the usual shopping list of various foreign and domestic complexities, the real problem for our ongoing study group this quarter will be what is has always been since its inception – the whole question of an American Empire – its very idea, fact, raison d’être, feasibility, and sustainability in an increasingly interdependent and globalizing world.



 The One-Dimensional Empire: The Leveling-Down of Reality


This quarter we will study how America’s championing of democracy, human rights and free market capitalism is leveling down reality. Now that the public has been persuaded that the mechanisms of democracy and the free market are one and the same, a culture of profit and greed is corrupting the system. Likewise, the new ideology of human rights has come to be interpreted as the rights of individuals, which exist independently of any hierarchy or community in which one might be situated; rights are universal, not communal or national. Today, nothing higher stands between the individual’s right to immediate gratification and the widest forces of global capitalism, which are everywhere undermining the last vestiges of authority and standards of judgment. The contemporary   “epoch of equalization” is forcing hitherto, more or less, self-contained social groupings to merge with one another.

We wish to bring a political-edge to cultural studies by critically examining the geographical division of labor in a context of developing and developed nations, which coincides with the simplification of life into a binary logic of production and consumption. The dramatic shift from production to consumption among developed nations is establishing new markets and legitimizing multiculturalism, whose suspicion of hierarchy simultaneously promotes a culture of consumption. Instead of analyzing popular culture we turn to business culture, where the imperial spirit is truly revealed.

If all past empires had a sacred dimension, then what are the prospects of an American empire whose dominant ethos is purely worldly? The old gospel of saving and postponed gratification has been turned on its head by advertising and easy credit, or what Herbert Marcuse called “repressive desublimation,” i.e. shop till you drop. Some pecuniary standards of American culture may have changed, but the self-righteous and punitive legacy of America’s religio-political values remain intact. How does the joyless fundamentalist rejection of postmodern values throughout the world challenge America’s muscular democratization and total market integration project?


Prof. Hans-Jürgen Kerner on Crime, Conspiracy and Corruption



January 27, 2006 started the new series of our study group:

 Elementary Structures of Imperial Leadership: The Circulation of Elites

As globalization brings prosperity, it also brings a level of inequality that surpasses all historical comparisons. In short, money has become the most flexible tool for social control in the form of reward and punishment. Having last quarter shown how the power elite make foreign policy, we now wish to examine how the super rich work closely with the government to win contracts, subsidies, influence and legitimate legislation in their own interest through the “perception management” of media.

Further Meeting Dates:  Feb 24,  Mar 31, Apr 28, May 26, June 30, July 21 ***



The Empire Study Group expands to Stuttgart

Since November 2005 we have a monthly discussion group at the DAZ (Deutsch Amerikanisches Zentrum James- F-.-Burnes-Institut e.V.)

Further Meeting Dates:  Feb 10,  Mar 10, Apr 7, May 5, June 9, July 14




September 30, 2005 we continued the last series of our study group:

The Social construction of Empire

as usual we will meet the last Friday each month, 6:45 pm at the d.a.i

Further Meeting Dates:  Oct 28,  Nov 25, Dez 16


April 29, 2005 started the last series of our study group:

The Social construction of Empire

Further Meeting Dates:  May 27,  June 24, July 22


During the summer break (2005) we focused on the concept of property.
In particular we dealt with this concept in Hobbes, Locke and Adam Smith.
We think that property is a core concept in liberalism and since liberalism
is THE IDEOLOGY of the empire it was certainly relevant to us.



September 24 2004 started the last series of our study group:

Imperial Democracy: The Domestic Roots of Empire


We had guest speakers:

Jan. 28, 2005, Prof. Winston Davis (Fulbright Professor for Religious Studies, FU Berlin):

Religion in America and its Influence on Domestic and Foreign Policies


Friday, Dec. 17, 2004, was a presentation by Prof. Gerald Silverberg (Maastricht):

 Long Waves in the Global Economy: Hidden Symmetry or Statistical Chimera?



Jan. 7, 2005 we made an interview with Ulrike Pfeil from the “Schwäbisches Tagblatt”

the article appeared on January 26, 2005